Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday the 13th and Valentine's Day

I woke up at 4:00 in the morning on Friday, did my little workout and got ready, and I drove a little over two hours down south to Williamsburg, Virginia.  Because I arrived over an hour before Colonial Williamsburg opens, I walked around the little recreated city before the tourists arrived.  It was nice and quiet, and still very pretty even though it's winter time right now.  The weather cooperated nicely this weekend as well.

I wonder if the Colonials really had blue, shaded spectacles with UV protection

After a few hours of hanging out in Colonial Williamsburg I met up with Rocky and we drove 3 1/2 hours down to Raleigh, North Carolina, to attend the temple.  Thanks to pretty light traffic (and a little bit of speeding...just a little bit though) we made it there with just enough time for me to throw on a shirt and tie and get inside for the session.  After two more hours sitting in the temple we drove the 3 1/2 hours back up to Hampton (which is where Rocky lives), VA.  I was sitting for about 11 hours on Friday.  Too much!  But it was all worth it.

Yesterday I spent the whole day wandering around Yorktown, Jamestown, and back to Colonial Williamsburg.

Glass blower at Jamestown Settlement

Ha!  I love it!  We should do something like this today.
Wow!  I can't believe how many people died when they first started coming over here.  It makes me very grateful for our modern medicine.

These are videos of Jamestown Island.  This place is probably gorgeous in Spring.

Last night I went to a multi-stake Valentine's Day dance at the Marriott Hotel in Newport News, VA.  Elder Marriott let the singles use this room for free.  The event was well-planned and a lot of fun.  Way to go, Rocky!

A few of the people I met at the dance.  Drew (blue), Tiffany....I think that's her name (orange), and Antoine...not sure how to spell his name (black.....I'm talking about his shirt color). Antoine is training to make the 2012 USA Olympic boxing team.  Cool dude.  He is also learning about the LDS (Mormon) Church right now.
Rocky (on right), her brother, and her brother's fiance
I should have taken this picture later on when that thing was full of comments
Doing the Macarena

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Seagulls Can Walk On Water

I took Friday off this week and decided to visit the National Air and Space Museum located near my house.  I had fun looking at the planes and learning a few things.  They have an IMAX theater there so I watched a movie called "Fighter Pilot."  It's about a big training exercise our pilots go through in Nevada with lots of other fighter pilots from around the world.  I really enjoyed it and I practically had the theater to myself.  I think there were three other people in there with me.

Friday afternoon I went down to the Senate building to Senator Bennett's office.  One of his staff members was going to give me a tour of the capitol building.  Because of the craziness going on with the stimulus package she wasn't able to do it.  But we did meet up later on for dinner at a yummy Mexican restaurant near the capitol building.

We went back to her place after dinner and watched "March of the Penguins." What a great documentary!  I think we can all learn from the penguins about how to share in the marital responsibilities. :)

How nice would that be?!  Flying from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. in 1 hour, 4 minutes!  I can't wait for the day when our passenger planes are flying that fast.
Shot of the Capitol at Sunset

Caleb, Soren, Anders, and Ari (my nephews), I want emails from all of you telling me why these birds can walk on top of the water.  Jude, you're a little young to be writing emails.  You get out of this assignment.

On Saturday, Afton and I wandered around the National Mall all day visiting different places.  The temperature was perfect (I think it was around 55-60 degrees and sunny).

Looking out over the Mall, with the Lincoln Memorial way back there.
Hey Lizzie/Jarem, I can't wait for the day when one of your photos ends up in a museum out here...maybe the Portrait Gallery or the Museum of Natural History (where this photo resides).  They had an animal photo exhibit in one part of the museum with a bunch of prize-winning shots of animals.  This one is my favorite.  The photographer waited near a pride of lions in Africa.  The lioness sprinted right past the guy to join the other lions.  We saw the Joseph Smith and Brigham Young portraits in the National Portrait Gallery, and they have a Lincoln portrait section right now as well for Lincoln's birthday.  They also have a room with large, close-up face shots of Angelina Jolie, Jack Nicholson, Obama, McCain, and others.
The Hope Diamond in the Museum of Natural History
In front of the Supreme Court building.
Library of Congress.  I need to go back and get pictures of the inside.  It's beautiful!  I also need to write down some of the quotes that line the inside.  Great stuff.

What a cool statue!  Check out those "Shrek" hands.
Near the end of our wanderings, we went up to the top of the Washington Monument and looked out over the whole city.  The windows aren't the cleanest in the world, but the view sure is neat.
Looking down at the White House

Sunday, February 1, 2009

"Whiz Wit"

Tia and Marlene did a day trip up to New Jersey yesterday to help Rivka (Tia's sister) and her husband move into their new place. Tia was nice enough to let me tag along so I could explore Philadelphia for the day. This is what happened:
We arrived at the hotel where Rivka and Jeff were staying while awaiting the time when they could move into their new place. It was around lunchtime so we all drove into Philadelphia to the Reading Market to get some food. Wow! What a place. All kinds of great food; even lots of international food. I ate a Falafel platter. Here you see Rivka, Jeff, and their little baby.....and some weird guy off to the left.

After lunch I took off on my little adventure. I only had five or six hours left until the sun went down so I decided that jogging would be the quickest (and free) way to get around. Oh, and since the high temperature for the day was around 25 degrees, it was also necessary to keep my body warm. I ran about a mile down to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Rocky made those steps famous in the Rocky movies.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art (in the background).

I looked around for someone who might have a sense of humor and I found these two guys to help me out.

Next I ran down to the Rodin Museum. I had never heard of Rodin until Marlene told me he was the guy who sculpted the thinking man. Oh, and I'm told his name is pronounced "Rowdan." That was a pretty neat museum and I recognized quite a few of his sculptures.

George Bernard Shaw
Eternal Springtime
The Burgers of Calais. I think these guys invented the hamburger. Just kidding. It's spelled Burghers.....or something like that.....and I have no idea what they did. I took pictures of a bunch of sculptures so I could look them up on the internet later on.
Athlete. They could make that the new Heisman Trophy. :) I'm sure Rodin would be proud to have one of his sculptures handed out as a NCAA Football trophy.
After visiting the Rodin Museum I ran down to the other end of the tourist district. The cemetery where Ben Franklin (and other historic people) are buried is closed during January and February every year, but I got my picture. Not much else to see there anyway.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, dedicated to soldiers of the American Revolution. Read the quotes on the wall. People don't talk like that anymore.

I saw this couple standing in the snow doing their wedding pictures. I couldn't believe it! I had all my winter clothing on and I was still cold. Must be true love. :)
Independence Hall
Inside Independence Hall
After jockeying for position with about 50 Japanese tourists, I got my picture.
"Hey! Dude with the camera! Check this out." I guess he was keeping the other leg warm. That's the Ben Franklin Bridge in the background.

Penn's Landing

I picked up a tourist magazine in the hotel room where we met Rivka and Jeff earlier in the day. I knew I had to eat a Phili cheese steak since I was in Philadelphia, but I wanted one of those "If you come to Phili, you've got to eat here." places. I found a very small ad for Pat's on one of the magazine pages and called the number to find out where it was. From Penn's Landing I had to jog about two miles into southern Phili to get to this place. It was already dark and I was cold and hungry, so I got going. I ran through cool little neighborhoods just like the ones you see in the movie Invincible, for example. Rocky too.

When I arrived I thought I noticed something familiar. See the sign in the corner of the window? It all clicked when I saw that "English Lesson" sign. This place was on the news a few years ago (maybe less than that) when they put a sign in their window that said something like, "If you don't order in English, you don't get served." Be sure to read the instructions on how to order a cheese steak. There was a nice family behind me that told me to say "Whiz wit" if I wanted my cheese steak with Cheese Whiz and onions, or "Whiz witout" if I wanted Cheese Whiz but no onions. I got the "Whiz wit." What a fun experience.
Well, it was exactly what I needed on a cold night. Not the healthiest meal in the world, but it sure did taste good. Now I can say I've had a real cheese steak, in Phili.

Mmmm, heart attack. I even added the cheese fries to complete my cheese steak experience.

I think I accomplished a lot in my half day in Philadelphia. Another great weekend trip.